Glossary of Terms

Affirmative Action****
An active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women.

Cultural Humility
The ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the person. Cultural humility is different from other culturally-based training ideals because it focuses on self-humility rather than achieving a state of knowledge or awareness.

Diversity refers to all the ways in which people differ, including primary characteristics, such as age, race, gender, ethnicity, mental and physical abilities, and sexual orientation; and secondary characteristics, such as education, income, religion, work experience, language skills, geographic location, and family status. Put simply, diversity refers to all of the characteristics that make individuals different from each other, and in its most basic form refers to heterogeneity.

Historically, equity refers to the process of creating equivalent outcomes for members of historically underrepresented and oppressed individuals and groups. Equity is about ending systematic discrimination against people based on their identity or background.

Inclusion exists when traditionally marginalized individuals and groups feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to participate in majority culture as full and valued members of the community, shaping and redefining that culture in different ways.

Inclusive Excellence**
The idea is that true excellence should be measured by how well campus systems, structures, and processes meet the needs of all students, regardless of socioeconomic, racial, gender or other characteristics.

Intercultural Competence***
Awareness of own cultural worldview, attitude toward cultural differences, knowledge of different cultures, skills to understand, communicate, and interact with other cultures.

Multiculturalism acknowledges and promotes the acceptance and understanding of different cultures living together within a community. As such, multiculturalism promotes the peaceful coexistence of diverse races, ethnicities, and other cultural groups in a given social environment.


*Source: Damon A. Williams, Strategic Diversity Leadership: Activating Change and Transformation in Higher Education (Stylus Publishing, 2013), 90-91.

**Source: Damon A. Williams, "Inclusive Excellence," Connection (Summer 2006): 17.

***Source: Mitchell R. Hammer, Ph.D.

****Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary